From the time that Henry VII instigated the first brewery in Portsmouth – the Greyhound Brewery in High Street – this major naval port has enjoyed a long and romantic history with the brewing industry and its outlets, pubs and beerhouses.
Henry VII may have got the barrel rolling, but it was his son, Henry VIII, who really got Portsmouth’s brewing industry going in a big way as the naval presence grew thanks to the war with France in 1512.
In 1513 five royal brewhouses were established in the town.
By 1716 there were 155 inns, brandy shops and coffee houses in Portsmouth and Portsmouth Common, 41 of them at The Point in what is now Old Portsmouth.
By the late 19th century there were 277 pubs and 545 beerhouses – a ratio of one drinking house for every 100 residents.
In 1915 there were 305 pubs and 372 beerhouses and an average 1,000 cases of drunkenness a year.
The history of this drinkers’ paradise is captured in Ron Brown’s book The Pubs of Portsmouth From Old Photographs which contains more than 200 pictures of pubs past and present.
It’s published by Amberley at £12.99 and is available from the following offices of The News: The News Centre, Hilsea; Lake Road, Portsmouth; West Street, Fareham; High Street, Gosport and West Street, Havant. Or call (023) 9262 2207 for postal inquiries. Postage rates will apply.